(ORDO NEWS) — SpaceX reported that 40 out of 49 Starlink satellites did not reach their intended orbit due to a geomagnetic storm.
Lockheed Martin plans to build a rocket that launches from Mars. Scientists at McGill University have developed a project for an engine that will deliver a payload to Mars in 45 days.
The sun unexpectedly intervened in earthly affairs, and Starlink satellites fell out of orbit
On February 3, SpaceX launched another batch of Starlink satellites. There are now 1,700 of them in near-Earth orbit, and to cover the entire Earth with satellite Internet, 12,000 are needed. The launch went smoothly.
Starlink satellites are specially launched into low orbits – 210 km, so that if something goes wrong, the satellite can be burned in the atmosphere. No remainder. This is also a design feature: Starlink satellites burn out completely, nothing reaches the Earth.
If everything is in order, from a height of 210 km, the satellites gradually rise to a predetermined height – about 500 km – and begin to work. And this time everything was fine. But they did not take into account one small nuance.
It turns out that there are geomagnetic storms on the Sun, and they seriously affect the Earth’s atmosphere. On February 4, such a storm just happened.
And on February 8, the wave reached the earth’s atmosphere. And then the unexpected happened: The storm affected the atmosphere so much that at an altitude of 210 km its density increased by 50%. SpaceX engineers tried to salvage the situation.
They turned the satellites sideways so that the flight was not affected by the windage of the solar panels. But it did not help. And satellites started falling one by one. And burn. Today, not all 40 have fallen yet. But they will fall. And a maximum of 9 will rise to a given height. In general, the Sun reminded of itself and did it rather harshly.
Now the flight to Mars takes six months. No one knows how long a flight from Mars to Earth takes, since this has never happened. The Perseverance rover collects soil samples in the Lake crater. These priceless samples should be taken and brought back to Earth.
For this, the Sample Retrieval Lander is being developed. He will descend to the surface of the planet and retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance. This will not happen before 2026. The descent vehicle compartment will house the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) rocket. Developit is ready by Lockheed Martin. MAV will pick up the sample container and launch from Mars.
The rocket will go into orbit and meet with the automatic interplanetary station of the European Space Agency Earth Return Orbiter. The container will be loaded to the station. And she starts to Earth. Samples of the Martian soil are planned to be delivered to Earth by the mid-2030s.
Even in such a short description, the whole process looks very complicated. What to say about reality. Moreover, all devices will have to work independently. It will be impossible to control them from the Earth in real time.
Six months to Mars is a long time. SpaceX’s Starship is scheduled for just such a flight time. But NASA has announced a competition to design an engine that will shorten the flight to 45 days and deliver a ton of payload to Mars.
The project of such an engine was created scientists at McGill University. The rocket is launched into low earth orbit. The combustion chamber contains hydrogen. The rocket has a mirror into which a powerful laser beam is directed from the Earth. He goes to the chamber and heats the core to 40 thousand degrees.
Hydrogen in the chamber is heated up to 10 thousand degrees. The gas is ejected through the nozzle, and the rocket begins to accelerate. The laser guides her for about an hour. During this time, the rocket reaches a speed of 17 km / s.
This speed is just enough to reach Mars in 45 days. True, there still need to slow down. So far, only one method is being considered: braking in the Martian atmosphere. But will the rocket withstand such deceleration? Don’t clear.
A much more interesting way: to build a powerful laser on Mars that will slow down the rocket with an oncoming beam, and then launch it back. So they will play cosmic “ping-pong” with each other. But this is still very far away.
Contact us: [email protected]